BWSC has a number of regulations, policies and guidelines governing the use of their water, sewer, and storm drain systems. If you are planning new construction, renovating one of Boston’s historic properties or any work on the water, sewer, or storm water systems, you must familiarize yourself with these regulations, policies, and guidelines. Below is a listing of these documents with links for downloading.
Billing, Termination, and Appeals
Covers all billing and collection charges for water and sewer services. In addition, these regulations describe the conditions necessary for BWSC to terminate these services as well as the disputes and appeals process.
Governs the use of the public and private sewers and storm drains in the City of Boston. The purpose of these regulations is to protect public health, safety, and welfare as well as to protect the environment. The regulations are divided into 9 Articles/Chapters as follows: Import of Regulations, General Provisions and Definitions; Use of Sewers; Building Sewers, Storm Drains, Connections and Appurtenances; Requirements for Design and Construction of Facilities; Discharge requirements, Prohibitions and Restrictions; Industrial Discharge and Pretreatment; Enforcement; Adoption; Penalties.
Governs the use of the public and private water facilities in the City of Boston. The purpose of these regulations is to protect public health, safety, and welfare and to ensure proper and safe operation of BWSC’s water distribution facilities. The regulations are divided into 9 Articles/Chapters as follows: Import of Regulations, General Provisions and Definitions; Use of Water and Water facilities; Water Service; Private Fire Protection; Cross Connections; Private Wells; Enforcement; Appellate Procedures; Import and Adoption.
Read about the Boston Public Health Commission's regulations regarding the industrial, irrigation, geothermal, and human consumption water wells, as amended on October 17, 2013.
BWSC is subject to state, federal and local regulations, policies and guidelines pertaining to the water, sewer, and storm drain systems. Below is a listing of some of the requirements applicable to the BWSC systems.
In 2012, BWSC filed a consent decree settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and the Conservation Law Foundation to enhance its ongoing efforts to comply with the Clean Water Act and to clean and revitalize Boston Harbor and its tributaries, including the Charles, Neponset, and Mystic Rivers.
The Consent Decree expands the role of BWSC as an environmental steward for Boston’s waterways. BWSC has met or exceeded the benchmarks set by the Consent Decree and will continue to fulfill its commitments. The short-term and long-term measures are designed to improve water quality, increase public awareness and protect the environment.
- BWSC Construction Site Inspection and Enforcement Program
- BWSC Industrial Facilities Pollution Prevention Program (IFSPPP)
- BWSC Phase I BMP Implementation Plan
- SSO Emergency Response Plan (SSOERP)
- Stormwater BMP Guidance
- BMP Recommendations Report
- August 1, 2019 Report
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program was created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act (CWA). It addresses water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States.
The CWA prohibits entities from discharging pollutants through a point source, such as a combined sewer or storm drain outfall, into a "water of the United States" unless they have an NPDES permit. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues NPDES Permits for Massachusetts. Permits contain limits on what the Permittee can discharge, monitoring and reporting requirements, and other provisions to ensure that the discharge does not impair water quality.
EPA has issued two NPDES Permits to BWSC: a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) and an Stormwater NPDES Permit.
BWSC's current CSO NPDES Permit, 2003, requires that BWSC comply with the EPA's Nine Minimum Controls and prohibits overflows from combined sewers in dry weather. Each year, BWSC submits a report on its compliance with the Nine Minimum Controls. Any overflows in dry weather, a rare occurrence, are reported to the EPA within 24 hours.
The CSO NPDES Permit also requires BWSC to submit an annual report. These reports have been submitted to the US EPA and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection since 1990.
One of the Nine Minimum Control requires that the public be notified of CSOs. Over the past several years BWSC has developed a web page that identifies when one of five of BWSC's CSO outfalls has discharged. Three of these outfalls discharge to the Fort Point Channel and two discharge into the Boston Harbor.
BWSC's Stormwater Permit was issued by the EPA in 1999. Under the Stormwater Permit, BWSC is required to develop and implement stormwater pollution prevention and management programs that are designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the municipal storm drainage system to the maximum extent practicable.
In addition, BWSC is required to report annually to the EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) regarding the status of its pollution prevention and stormwater management programs. The annual report provide summaries of stormwater mangement activities undertaken by BWSC including, descriptions of the outfall screening, monitoring, and illegal connection remediation programs. Also included are BWSC's annual expenditures for stormwater programs and assessments of structural controls.
Municipal Discharge Permit
In accordance with Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) Sewer Use Regulations municipal users of the MWRA sewer system must obtain and remain in compliance with a Municipal Discharge Permit issued by MWRA.
The MWRA Municipal Discharge Permit is issued annually to each of the 45 Municipalities discharging to the MWRA Sewerage System. The Municipal Discharge Permit is subject to MWRA Sewer Use Regulations 360 CMR 10.041-10.048, and it regulates:
Generally, for each Municipality:
- Special and Public connections to MWRA sewers
- The submittal of various reports and notifications related to Infiltration/Inflow, CSO, septage; management and sewer system operation and maintenance
- Joint issuance of MWRA Sewer Use Discharge Permits
- Septage discharges
- Sewer user charges
- Sewerage system maintenance
- The discharge of toxic or hazardous materials such as pesticides and paints (prohibited)
- 8(m) permitting within an MWRA easement
- Discharge of residuals from sewer system cleaning (prohibited)
- Municipality must not allow discharges from a root\vegetation control project for its sewer maintenance program to enter its sanitary sewer unless it has a written authorization from the Authority
- Discharge from the installation of a cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) liner into a pipeline as part of a sewer rehabilitation project into the Municipal or MWRA sewerage system is prohibited, unless authorized by the Authority